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Last Vegas

by Leonard Maltin
November 1, 2013 12:04 AM
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Photo by Chuck Zlotnick - Courtesy of CBS Films

Sometimes it’s helpful to have low expectations. I knew I would derive some pleasure from watching Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline in Last Vegas, but I was fearful of a stupid and/or condescending comedy in the mold of Grumpy Old Men—which I found pretty moldy. Indeed, this is a kissin’ cousin to that hit of twenty years ago, and has a predictable number of “old” jokes, but it’s also fun to watch…more fun than I expected it to be. Director Jon Turteltaub and screenwriter Dan Fogelman are experienced at turning out slick, commercial entertainment, but they’ve upped their game here, with four gifted actors at their command.

You can connect the dots of a screenplay like this just from seeing the trailer. Four lifelong friends from Flatbush, Brooklyn reunite when one of them (Douglas) decides to marry his much-younger girlfriend in Las Vegas. This involves Freeman sneaking away from his loving but overprotective son in New Jersey, Kline getting permission from his understanding wife in Florida, and the two of them convincing reclusive De Niro to leave his Brooklyn apartment, where he’s still mourning the loss of his wife. De Niro and Douglas have unresolved issues, which provide a (somewhat) dramatic undercurrent to the reunion. Then, in Sin City they both find themselves attracted to a lovely lounge singer, nicely played by Mary Steenburgen.

This is formulaic storytelling, to be sure, but the actors seem to be having a good time, the settings are flashy, and most important, the jokes are pretty good. Last Vegas doesn’t break any new ground, but it delivers on its promise and allows us to spend time with four of the best actors alive—even if they never break a sweat. Call me a sucker if you like, but I had a good time watching this movie.


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  • Norm | February 10, 2014 1:59 PMReply

    The "joke" is played out for us in "Last Vegas" as Michael Douglas decides to marry a MUCH younger girl. This mirrors his real life marriage to Catherine Zeta Jones and the many jokes Douglas had/has to endure. Morgan Freeman steals the show with a much under stated role that is filled with great humor. Kevin Kline and Robert De Niro also deliver, they show how talented they really are as the chemistry gels in almost every scene. Never overlook a veteran actor when given something to work with. Not a great film but most memorable...

  • Jeff Bilkanich | November 6, 2013 4:02 PMReply

    "sucker" - I think not! I'm soon to be 66 & I laughed & then I laughed some more. It was a quality version of The Hangover films, i.e. Quality jokes, believable situations & very good acting. Also, it was sometimes racy, but never gross or crass w/every other word starting w/f & ending in k! It may not appeal to the under 40 crowd, but for those 50+, it's an enjoyable couple of hrs w/5 Oscar winners...

  • Brian J Corrigan | November 6, 2013 2:35 AMReply

    You're a sucker!

    (Sorry...I just had to.)

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